CHICAGO (AP) — Jeremy Guthrie was pleased with the way he was pitching over the previous two months. He just didn’t have anything to show for it.
He wasn’t happy with much of his performance Friday night, but it was good enough to snap an 11-game winless streak.
Lorenzo Cain had a two-run double to highlight a five-run first inning, Guthrie pitched into the sixth inning and the Kansas City Royals extended their winning streak to five games with a 7-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
“Baseball is a very funny game,” Guthrie said. “This is a very ironic way to pick up a win after a long stretch — not pitch very well, not pitch too deep in the game, but do enough to help the team win.”
Guthrie (3-6) allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings. Before Friday, he had gone at least seven innings in four of his last five games. His last win was on April 9, against Tampa Bay.
“This is probably the worst game he’s had in this streak,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
The right-hander had pitched well enough to win on several occasions, but received the lowest run support in the AL (2.59) during that span.
That wasn’t an issue Friday.
Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler each had two RBIs, including a run-scoring single in the first inning, for Kansas City.
Jose Quintana (3-7) never recovered from the slow start, allowing six runs and eight hits in six innings.
Jose Abreu went 1 for 4 with an RBI for the White Sox.
The Royals staked Guthrie to a five-run lead before he took the mound.
The first four batters — Nori Aoki, Omar Infante, Hosmer and Butler — all singled to make it 2-0 and fifth-place hitter Alex Gordon followed with a double to right field to make it 3-0.
After Quintana struck out Salvador Perez for the first out of the game, Cain stroked a double to left to drive in two more and made it 5-0.
“In the past Q’s always been a little slow coming out of the first inning,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “But they were swinging it. They barreled him up and it happened fast.”
The White Sox got a run back in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Abreu. The Royals got it back in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Hosmer.
Chicago loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half of the inning as Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo singled and Alejandro De Aza walked, but the White Sox pushed across just one run — on a walk to Adam Eaton — to make it 6-2.
“I didn’t come out aggressive enough,” Guthrie said. “A couple of walks and I loaded the bases in the second. I was very fortunate to get out of the first two innings with just a couple of runs and then I was able to settle down down the stretch.”
Guthrie struck out Tyler Flowers with no outs and then struck out Gordon Beckham with one out following the walk to Eaton. Conor Gillaspie then flied out to center to end the inning.
The starters then settled down and neither team scored over the next four innings.
“He was at 74 pitches through three and I was like, ‘OK, if you can just get us through five with the lead, that’s going to be a heck of a job,‘” Brewers manager Ned Yost said of Guthrie. “He ended up throwing 14 pitches in the fourth inning, six pitches in the fifth and got two outs in the sixth.”
Kansas City added a run in the seventh on Hosmer’s run-scoring single to make it 7-2.
NOTES: Royals SS Alcides Escobar left the game in the eighth inning with a cramp in the left calf. “If he feels tightness tomorrow, we’ll probably give him the day off,” Yost said. .The White Sox have signed RHP Henry Rodriguez to a minor league contract. Rodriguez, released by Miami earlier this season, has been assigned to Triple-A Charlotte and will begin on the DL. ... The last time LHP Chris Sale had a high pitch count he landed on the DL for a month, but Ventura had no problems with the Chicago ace throwing 116 on Thursday. “He felt great going there and he didn’t have that inning where he really had to fight through it and battle,” Ventura said. ... LHP Danny Duffy (3-5) takes on RHP Hector Noesi (2-4) in the second game of the series Saturday.